What Do They Really Mean When They Call Us 'Bougie'?

What Do They Really Mean When They Call Us 'Bougie'?


This piece was inspired by a classmate of mine, Maya Mitchell. Last week, she released what I felt was a very necessary piece about our esteemed institution, Spelman College, and the elements that make it as special as it is. Now this piece was unlike any other piece I’ve ever read about Spelman, mainly because I’ve had intimate experiences with all of the components she highlighted. Whether it's the bad luck associated with walking under the alumnae arch or the search for a good white dress, every item on her list resonated with a part of my heart and probed me to debunk the most regurgitated theory about Spelman and the women that attend this great institution.

My position at Spelman now is something that I could not have even tried to predict for myself my senior year of high school when I began the tireless process of applying to college. I have never been afraid to admit the bumpy path I traveled to get to where I’m at now, but rarely do I ever admit the fact that I once led astray of HBCUs and the quality of the education they provide. I applied to over ten schools, including University of Pennsylvania, Yale, Vanderbilt, and University of Michigan, with only two of those schools being Historically Black; Howard University and Spelman College. But even in the process of applying to those two historically black institutions, my conviction that I could only attain an ivy league education at an ivy league stuck with me.

Accepted, waitlisted, and denied by some, I was convinced by a plethora of educators that to be taken seriously in the professional and intellectual world, my degree would have to be gleaned from a PWI (Predominately White Institution). But I chose Spelman, after much convincing from my mother, but also after following my gut feeling; a decision I'll stand by today, tomorrow, and next week, as my decision to attend Spelman was the best decision I have ever made in my life. However, (again, not afraid to admit this) I knew little to nothing about Spelman. The household of my good friend Evan Gayles, a rising sophomore at Howard University, is one of the first places where I heard the name of Spelman College. Her mother was a Spelman woman and just from leisure reflection, I remember that it was a fact she held on to with pride. The reason for her pride, little did I know, I would soon experience myself.

After determining that Spelman would be the institution that I would further my education at, I took it upon myself to reverse my ignorance of my new home. I became privy to the culture, history, and dynamic of the school. I’d never been in an all girls environment before, so I wanted to know what was so enriching about it. I was interested in seeing their curriculum, what internship opportunities they had to offer, and what businesses and corporations heavily recruited at Spelman. I was interested in hearing about the experiences of other Spelman women; whether they were class of 1988 or 2002, I was interested in knowing what the Spelman sisterhood was all about. And what I found was rich. The successes of my many predecessors showed tangible proof as to why Spelman reigns as the #1 HBCU in the country, and why this reign will be perpetual.

But what I ran into the most during my transition from a high school senior to a college freshman was the futile idea and opinion that all Spelman women were ‘bougie’. Even typing the words makes me feel as childish as those that preach it, but It’s a line I heard repeatedly during my first year of school from the mouths of both peers in Atlanta (those that attended other institutions and my brother institution, Morehouse College) and peers at home. Their stories and allegations painted the picture of a campus teeming with red bottom wearing trust fund babies who had an 8 o’clock campus curfew. They never had time for anything else but their work, and their curriculum bred them to be ruthless feminists who hydrate with men’s tears. They were cold-blooded, and an obvious force to not be reckoned with.

And I wasn’t necessarily sure if this was supposed to deter me, but I wanted ins. (I’m joking.)

But regardless of whatever preconceived notions those around me concocted about Spelman through either interaction or he-say/she-say, my own experiences can deem them all as invalid. Because of Spelman I know the importance of building a positive brand, and the importance of sustaining my education; I know how to always put myself in a position to learn something new no matter what the circumstance is. I know that I have a position in this world and that my talents can be used to change this world, otherwise I’m being selfish. I know hard work, and I know defeat in the face of hard work. But I also know 48-72 hours without sleep, persistence, and success. I know to never settle and I know that if I don’t get the credit that I’m owed, I take it because I deserve it. By attending an institution that has taken on the responsibility of ensuring the quantifiable success of women who look like me and only me, I now know how to get the attention of a world who tries so hard to deny both my existence and my contributions. And most importantly I know that I'm blessed to be apart of something as great as that. Besides, I truly don’t know another school that can teach me both the fundamentals of intersectionality while also being able to teach me how to love myself; and have both concepts integrated into a mandatory course.

The change that my institution has brought about in me in one year is change I thought I would never endure. I think any rising Spelman woman has a story about their life before Spelman and what exactly Spelman saved them from, and Spelman saved me from myself. It's a blessing to have a whirlwind of talent, but it's a curse to not know how to exercise that talent to the best of your ability and my institution taught me how. By not only reaffirming the presence of my talent, but by putting me in settings where my talent could thrive, I'm forever grateful for Spelman College and the light that she sees in all of her students well before we see it ourselves.

So no, we’re not bougie. What they really meant to say was educated and aware; alert and allergic to nonsense; unbothered and hungry- characteristics usually frowned upon by society when showcased by black women. But we don't care, we do it anyway. I’m Spelman bred, and everything about me says so.
Cover Image Credit: AUC CAM

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Elisabeth Carell, Choose UMich Because You KNOW We’re The Best Big 10

We are a community that sticks with you forever, an amazing network that’ll take you above and beyond.

After stopping at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for the bathroom and some food, the Carell’s arrived at the University of Michigan for a real tour of an *actual* school.

Multiple students spotted Elisabeth’s parents, Steve and Nancy Carell throughout the day. They were kind enough to stop and take pictures with them, and when one student called out “Michael!” Steve turned around and laughed with the 20-year-old. As amazing as it was to have these two on our campus, that isn’t the point of this article.

Dear Elisabeth Carell,

We hope you enjoyed visiting the one and only University of Michigan. This school is one of a kind; wear a Michigan hat or shirt around any town in the United States and you are bound to get “Go Blue!” yelled to you throughout the day. We are a community that sticks with you forever, an amazing network that’ll take you above and beyond.

1. Game days are no competition

From being woken up at 7 a.m. to getting ready, to the euphoric tailgates to WINNING, nothing beats a Michigan game day. Nothing. Being in the Big House thousands decked out in Maize and Blue is incomparable, you will never feel more a part of something than you do when you are all cheering for our football team in that stadium. And trust me, you want to go to a school where they actually win their games.

Anyone that goes to the school can go on and on about all the traditions we have at this school.

2. At some point during your time here, you will most definitely paint the rock

What’s on the rock changes each day, sometimes even multiple times a day.

3. We have a giant Spinning cube

The Cube” as most people call it, brings good luck. Students and alumni are known to spin it when they walk by.

4. The traditions start as soon as you become a wolverine

During orientation we walk through the fountain towards the diag, symbolizing the beginning of us as a Wolverine. Then on graduation day, the students walk through the fountain again towards the graduate school, symbolizing their bright futures.

5. Kissing under the West Engineering Arch

It is known that if you kiss someone at midnight under the Arch before you’re 21, then this is the one you will marry.


I swear this is real, in the middle of the diag lays a brass M, if you step on it you will fail your first blue book exam. The only way to reverse this is to run to the Natural History Museum from the M, kiss the two stone pumas and run back between the first and last stroke of midnight –naked.

7. Our campus is beautiful

You can always count on something going on in the diag and people laying in hammocks or walking on tightropes tied between trees. The Arb, the buildings, the views, it’s all exactly what you could want for a college campus.

8. State Street

There are tons of “state streets” across the country, but nothing quite compares to this one. There is art and culture everywhere you look, amazing clothing stores and of course this gorgeous street brings me to…food.

9. Food

From Frita Batidos to Fred’s to Zingerman’s, the list goes on and on.


11. The education

Our clubs and activities are endless. There is a place for everyone and so much opportunity. The faculty care, they want to see you succeed. I have heard many stories where faculty have introduced a job or an internship to a student that skyrocketed their career. With all the classes and majors you could want, Michigan specializes in anything and anyone with passion. That’s what makes us so great.

This is where the best memories and friendships happen, I promise. College can be hard, but lucky as a student at one of the best universities I’ve fallen in love with this place faster than I’d ever think. You go in and faster than you would imagine you are able to find connection unlike any other. This is where it's at.

Come here to have the best college experience you could ever ask for.


The entire UofM student body

Cover Image Credit: Sarah Richman

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When You Work A Job In College, You Earn Things Mom And Dad's Money Can't Buy

The appreciation I have gained is something that cannot be bought, it was earned by hard work and dedication.

As my first year of college approached, I pleaded with my parents not to make me work during my first semester. I selfishly just wanted to have as much free time as possible to hang out with my friends, go out to frat parties, and sleep the whole next day. The last thing I wanted was to have a job to worry about, I just wanted to live off of my parents' dime.

I also thought it would have been nice to have school and extracurriculars as my only responsibility, but my parents refused to let me not have a job. They were both extremely hard workers for all of their life and saw no reason I could not handle both work and school.

So, against my wishes, I went out and got myself a hostessing job at a local restaurant. I had no idea the lessons and skills I would gain from this job that I dreaded on applying for initially.

1. Time Management

One of the things I value most about simultaneously being a student and having a job is learning how to manage my time. Prior to being a working student, I was extremely lazy when it came to doing assignments and projects, I would put them off until the very last possible moment. Once I started working, I had no time to waste, I was forced to get my life together and prioritize my responsibilities. So instead of spending my free time laying around and watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians, I was finishing my assignments before I had to go to work because I knew I had no other choice. I learned how to balance my responsibilities while still making time for myself.

2. Maturity

I learned that you cannot rely on your parents financially forever and that it is crucial to learn how to support yourself. I know my parents wanted to teach me that the real world is hard and they wanted to prepare me for it as best as they could. They did not want to shelter and enable me because they realized that it would only hinder me in the long run. My job itself taught me how to take responsibility for my actions, be on time, and to be professional. This all around gave me a more mature outlook on life and strengthened me as a person in several areas.

3. Perseverance

Being a working student is not easy and often makes it really hard to keep going when you are tired, sick, or just feeling worn out. Balancing both work and school can be extremely overwhelming and just make you want to give up at times, but you learn how to persevere because you care about your future. I had coworkers, teachers, and friends/family supporting me through every obstacle that was placed in my path and helped me get closer to achieving my goals. I knew the consequences of missing work, skipping class, and being lazy so I chose to persevere even when times were tough.

4. The Value of Money

When your parents support you financially, you never realize how much things cost. You probably never thought twice about swiping your parents' credit card for a $5 coffee or a $20 meal, but once it's your own money you start to think twice about splurging on unnecessary items. I began to realize how much things like groceries and gas cost and started to manage my money accordingly.

I also learned that money just doesn’t grow on trees and that there is a lot of hard work required in earning money. I would never have realized the true value of a dollar if my parents didn't make me get a job in college.

5. Appreciation

By having a job in college, I gained such an appreciation for things that I would have previously taken for granted. I have learned what it means to work for things and truly deserve everything that I have worked for. The appreciation I have gained is something that cannot be bought, it was earned by hard work and dedication.

Cover Image Credit: Carlie Konuch

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